This page offers suggestions for beats, how to start one and how to approach the beat.

Cut the crap

Get rid of jargon. Write like a human. This story from the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank based in Florida, will show you how.

Recording sources

You cannot simply convert a print news story into an audio one – and at least keep the audience’s attention. This guide to audio storytelling comes from National Public Radio’s training series.

Anonymous sources

How do you use an anonymous source? Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post offers this short course in using anonymous sources.

Why you shouldn’t ask questions like a White House reporter

White House reporters have reasons for asking long, drawn-out, involved questions – many of which deal with the lack of access to the president of the United States. Still, most of their questions are bloated, filled with grandstanding, obvious comments and opinion. Poynter teacher Al Tompkins shows reporters in this piece why they should focus primarily on simple, open-ended questions – with a sprinkling of closed-ended questions to confirm information.

How to cover the stock market

This Journalist Resource piece describes a good approach for beat reporters who find themselves having to cover the financial markets.

Finding sources
Sources are the key to all news stories, but especially for beat reporters. You must identify and interview the sources you’ll see on a daily basis while covering your beat, of course, but at times you may also need to find sources off your beat – off your college campus, even – to help round out the story or add expertise to it.

One of the ways to do that is the old-school method of looking in past clips – archives – of the news organization to see who was interviewed on the subject in the past. It’s a tried and true method. Part of its problem, though, is that it relies on the same sources time and time again. No fresh perspectives are included.

To add freshness to your story, check out the research networks Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. Here’s how.

Beat Mapping
The SlideShare presentation below by a former managing editor of the Arizona Republic provides an excellent introduction into mapping your beat.

Develop your own beat map

Three beats campus media needs
In this post by former AP journalist David Simpson, you can read about three beats that he believes should be a part of every college newspaper, as well as tips for how to start a beat.